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Wall Of Fame - Volunteers Week

10th June 2020

As last week (1st-7th June) was Volunteers Week, we are reflecting on three inspiring volunteers who have given up their time to support amazing National Lottery funded charities and their vulnerable communities since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Little Village Donations Centre and Amma

2. Amma, Little Village

Amma is a regular volunteer at Little Village. A South London based charity that provides clothes, toys and equipment for children up to the age of five. Coronavirus has seen a huge rise in demand for their help, so they have been busy creating and delivering bundles of essential items to struggling parents and children across London.

Amma explains the reason behind why she volunteers: “I fundamentally believe that every one of us, every human being, has the right to live in a dignified and respectful way. I’m no better or worse than anybody else, every child is of worth, every human being is of worth. I suppose it saddens me that there are some children, and women, and families who just have such a rough ride in life, particularly the nation we live in, where there’s actually plenty. Every day you see people get rid of things, throw things away – there’s an abundance of stuff. Volunteering for Little Village is my small contribution towards trying to make the world a better place.”

Without the commitment, love, dedication and support of volunteers, Little Village simply wouldn’t exist.

Virtual Zone Club Session

1. Lucie Castleman, Wiltshire Music Centre

Lucie is a wonderful and long-standing volunteer for the Wiltshire Music Centre. The Centre’s Lottery Funded Zone Club is a creative group for young learning-disabled adults, aged 16+. The project is delivered through monthly sessions at the Centre in which young people can create their own music, lyrics, dance and films. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 it’s been more important than ever to look out for their community and that is why the Club has adapted their sessions to work virtually.

Lucie comments on what it means to her to be a volunteer: “The musical events are wonderful. Joyous performance comes out of what these young adults do. The opportunities to see quality musicians, help out in the community, make good relationships with other volunteers, and contribute in a really worthwhile way to enriching people’s lives as well as my own is reward enough.”

In her spare time, Lucie is a beekeeper, and has pledged to donate the money she makes from the honey later this year to the Centre.

3. Jeanette Lynes, Warm & Toasty Club

Jeanette is a key figure at Colchester’s Warm and Toasty Club, an inter-generational befriending club hosting regular Memory Afternoons that bring over-60s together though music, arts and history. Though members may not be able to see each other physically during the Coronavirus pandemic, they can still meet up virtually thanks to weekly Virtual Memory Afternoon broadcasts.

Jeanette describes what volunteering means to her: “I feel lucky that I have the time to spend with them and honoured to become part of their weekly lives. I lost my parents and grandparents many years ago and some of the gap left by their passing is filled with spending happy times and hearing the memories of our older folk that come to the Memory Afternoons.”

“Since the outbreak of COVID-19, The Warm & Toasty Club has adapted to weekly live broadcasts. It’s lovely to be a co-host and continue to spend Friday afternoons in wonderful company, albeit virtual, and to read the comments as the people watching join/write in.”

“As the lockdown eases, I have spoken to some of these people about the possibility of me visiting them at their homes, at a safe distance, outside. The thought of this seems to make them very happy and, although we can’t share the usual hugs, it will be wonderful to see their smiling faces. It’s these kind of positive thoughts that keep us all going strong!”

Robin, The Devil's Porridge Museum

4. Robin, The Devil's Porridge Museum

The Devil's Porridge Museum in Dumfries & Galloway keeps the history of HM Factory Gretna, the largest WW1 munitions factory in the world, alive thanks to its dedicated team of knowledgeable volunteers. Though their doors may be shut for now, the volunteers have been keeping busy by getting involved in podcasts and completing online training.

One of these volunteers is Robin, who is easily recognisable in the museum as he is often seen volunteering in a kilt. He joined the team at in 2017 with keen interest in military history and HM Factory Gretna, having served as the Senior Police Officer (Commanding Officer) of the Ministry of Defence Police Detachment at DM Longtown.

He remembers a 'baptism of fire' on his first day when, unannounced, a coach party turned up at the museum! Robin really enjoys showing groups around the museum, especially children, and is a key part of their school visit team. In 2019, Robin was ask to join the board and became a Trustee of the museum.

During lockdown, Robin had undertaken an Autism Awareness course, which you can read about here.

A big thank you to all volunteers who are working hard to support their communities during these challenging times!

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